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Strange how my nostalgia will soon be to
Watch as your old men sit
Steeped in the argileh-smoke of their own reminiscing
They pull up their chairs and set their coffee on the ground
Dreaming of the days before pervasive car-exhaust air
Oh Beirut
Yesterday will always be the sunlight of your today
How else could your bread-cart bikes and fruit-sellers
Find their way from then to now?
How else could the ritz of your Downtowm
Rise from bullet holes?
And if a golden past has given way to an unfamiliar present,
Tell me why does Charles Aznavour return, wrinkled,
To sing for a new generation
While expats come home to seek a future?


(Written before I left Beirut in 2012, before knowing my life would be permanently tied to Lebanon)